The creative mind feeds on inspiration. If you’re of that certain persuasion seeing beautiful things will inspire in you the desire to create beautiful things of your own – so lucky for us the modern creative has no shortage of sources for inspiration.
Probably an obvious choice, I know, but take it from someone who knows: Pinterest is useful for way more than recipes and craft projects. Pinterest offers us a unique platform to curate the things we find inspirational, and there’s a nice little caveat here that’ll run through my other sources as well: it doesn’t have to be about what you do. My boards on pinterest, for instance, run the gamut between “awesome arts & crafts projects I intend to try someday” to “places I want to visit in my life” to “things that I just find beautiful”. It’s not just a place to find projects to work on (though it’s good for that). To me the parallel with an actual pinboard is strong — my bulletin board which hangs above my desk (and has continued to do so despite numerous moves over the past year) serves as my own personal gallery. It’s covered with ideas on scraps of paper, photos of friends, postcards and magazine clippings. To me Pinterest is no different. “These are things that inspire me, and I want to remember them and share them“. That’s the power of Pinterest.
Twenty billion total posts, over 50 million users. The numbers alone are staggering. Sure, a lot of it’s cats, but it doesn’t claim to be “home of the world’s creators” for naught; tumblr is a phenomenal resource for creatives. It was my pinterest before I had a pinterest, in fact, and in some way it surpasses pinterest as a marketplace of ideas — it’s really more of a blogging platform, which encourages conversation and commentary.
Using this feature you can track given tags or subjects and then browse them separately; at right you can see the tags I follow on a regular basis. Notice the counts next to the subjects; some tags, like “Tulsa” or “Travel Writing” may only get a few posts a day whereas “photography” pretty much updates faster than you can keep up with (and a word for the wary: tumblr can, in certain dark corners, be very NSFW) but the nice thing about tumblr is you can just stop in when you feel the need to immerse yourself in beautiful stuff.
It’s also a great way to promote your work — my first few Etsy sales came directly from people reblogging my posters on Tumblr — but more on that in a later post.
It’s about the journey, right? Find ways to document the things that happen to you, the things you see, and the ideas you come up with — that’s the stuff that future inspiration is made of. Personally I use a variety of methods from photographs to journal entries to (mostly bad) drawings and watercolors or ticket stubs tucked into my notebook.
Keeping a journal is a great place to start — and don’t be intimidated. Over-thinking is a sure-fire way to ensure you’ll never actually use it, so don’t limit yourself. Maybe today you write a snippet of a favorite song lyric, tomorrow a sketch of an idea, the next paste in a photo of a friend. But more on that in my next installment: putting all those newfound ideas to paper, and then to good use.
So readers, what inspires you?